December 3, 2022

The Justice Department reportedly believes Trump has more documents

Former President Donald J. In recent weeks, former President Donald J. A senior Justice Department official told Trump’s lawyers.

The officer heading the department’s counter-intelligence operations, J.I. Pratt’s revelation comes amid efforts to recover documents allegedly returned by the former president. It’s an even stronger sign that investigators doubt Trump has fully cooperated. At the end of his term it was sent to the National Archives.

Mr. It’s unclear what steps the Justice Department might take to recover any material Trump thinks he still has.

It is not known whether the Justice Department has gathered new evidence that Mr Trump was in possession of government material. Court-authorized search His private club and residence in Mar-a-Lago, Florida, in August and the federal government’s efforts to convince the former president to return the 18 months he left office.

The Justice Department declined to comment.

A statement from the department said Mr. That prompted a split among Trump’s lawyers over how to respond, with one camp taking a cooperative approach that would include bringing in an outside firm to further search for the documents, and another instructing Mr. Trump to maintain more. Battle posture.

The higher the protest camp, the more people who explained the matter won.

Govt has More than 300 classified documents were found Among the items kept at Mar-a-Lago, including those marked as containing the most important information to cross the president’s desk.

But the Justice Department has previously raised doubts about whether Mr Trump has changed everything at his disposal. After a search in August, it was revealed to federal investigators Found dozens of empty folders Marked as containing classified information at Mar-a-Lago. The revelation raised further questions about whether the Justice Department had actually recovered all the classified material taken out of the White House.

A search of Mar-a-Lago turned up empty folders and 40 other empty folders that it said contained sensitive documents that were to be returned to the “Secretary of Staff/Army Assistant,” the court filing said. Mr. Agents also found empty folders in Trump’s office with seven documents marked “top secret.” Investigators also found 11 other people marked “top secret” in a storage room.

And the department has signaled in court filings that it is continuing to try to determine whether government supplies are unaccounted for. In a September court filing, the Justice Department complained that a judge’s decision barring authorities from accessing documents they seized in searches — later partially reversed by a federal appeals court — would limit their ability to determine whether documents are missing.

The injunction “prevents the FBI and DOJ from further reviewing records to identify any patterns in the types of records retained that might lead to the identification of other records that are still missing.”

The department added that the injunction would “prohibit the government from using any aspect of the contents of the seized records to support the use of the coercive process to discover any additional records.”

Among the potential offenses cited by the department Seeking a search warrant Mar-a-Lago was the obstacle.

Judicial officers and Mr. Trump’s delegation has held several discussions in recent weeks. Mr. Mr. After Brad’s call, Mr. Trump initially called one of his lawyers, Christopher M. Agreed to follow Kiss’ advice. The forensic agency is seeking additional documents, according to people briefed on the matter.

But Mr. Other lawyers in Trump’s circle — who have argued for taking a more adversarial stance in dealing with the judiciary — have criticized Mr. Disagree with Kiss’s approach. They are Mr. They pushed Trump out of the idea and encouraged him to maintain an aggressive stance toward officials, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Mr. It’s not clear which property Kiss wanted an outside team to conduct a voluntary search of. With his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Fla., Mr. Trump often spends time at his club in Bedminster, NJ, and at his office in Manhattan.

Disagreement among lawyers over how to respond to the judiciary, Mr. That helped create a rift within Trump’s legal team and in recent weeks Mr. Trump’s legal team includes Mr. leading to a reduction in Kiss’s role.

For several requests for comment, Mr. Kiss didn’t answer.

Mr. Trump’s spokesman, Taylor Pudovich, criticized the Justice Department.

“A weaponized judiciary and a politicized FBI spend millions and millions of American tax dollars perpetuating witch hunt after witch hunt,” he said.

Mr. Trump’s reluctance so far to cooperate has left the department in the throes of deciding between a series of difficult choices, including whether to drop the effort to obtain the documents, issue a subpoena for them and seek another search warrant. or Mr. Trump should be pressed to certify under oath that he has turned over all the items in his possession.

Bob Litt, a longtime national security attorney, said the Justice Department is running out of options to carry out another search warrant. Filing a case in court demanding the return of documents may result in the return of one or all of the documents. By doing so, the department could back Mr. Trump into a corner, Mr. Litt said.

How the department proceeds could be influenced by whether the department believes the documents in question are highly sensitive, he said.

“They can say in court that we are bringing this to court instead of seeking a search warrant,” Mr. Litt said. “The goal is to get Trump to go on the record because he has a history of saying things out of court that he doesn’t go on the record with.”

Lingering questions of missing documents appear in part Big problem The Justice Department and the National Archives are confronting the Trump White House, which has routinely flouted federal records-keeping laws.

Last week, the The National Archives told a congressional committee Mr. Members of Trump’s administration have yet to turn over all presidential records outside the government treasury.

Failure to turn over the president’s records, including work-related messages from personal email accounts, could result in legal consequences, the agency said.

US Archivist Debra Steidl Wall told a congressional panel that the agency will consult with the Justice Department about whether to “initiate an action to recover illegally removed records.”

“While there is no easy way to establish full accountability, we know we don’t have everything we should,” Ms. Wall is Democratic Representative of New York and Chairwoman of the Oversight Committee Carolyn B. Wrote to Maloney.

Ben protested, Glen Thrush And Matt Abuzzo Contributed report.